A 12-member mixed jury yesterday convicted former soldier Allister Woolford of manslaughter for fatally shooting his friend, Devon Howell, in 2014. The incident occurred at Lot 100 Republic and D’Andrade Streets, Newtown.
The verdict was in the proportion 10 guilty to two not guilty.
Howell died on December 8, 2014.
Based on reports, a gun went off and Howell was shot in his neck. He was rushed to the Georgetown Public Hospital where he eventually succumbed almost three weeks after the incident. His upper spinal cord was reportedly damaged as a result of the shot and he never regained consciousness.
During November 2014, Woolford was charged with Attempting to Commit murder after Howell remained in a critical state at the Georgetown Public Hospital, days after the shooting. However, after Howell succumbed, the charge of Attempting to Commit murder was withdrawn, and a new charge of manslaughter was instituted against Woolford.
Based on evidence coming out of the trial, Howell was shot with a gun that belonged to the GDF.
Jonathan Williams who was also employed with the GDF during 2014 testified that he had signed for and uplifted the gun from the armory at Base Camp Ayanganna, Georgetown.
Williams had told the court that he and Woolford were friends, more like ‘squaddies’, since they trained together in the army.
According to him, he left and went over to 100 Republic and D’Andrade Streets, Newtown, where he met Woolford and Howell.
Williams testified that he needed to use the washroom and so he left the gun in care of Woolford, whom he trusted.
Minutes after, Williams told the jury that he heard a gun go off and he immediately exited the washroom to inquire about what had happened.
Williams added that he saw Howell lying on the ground and that Woolford was applying first aid. He told the court that he inquired about what happened and Woolford told him that he shot Howell.
The witness recalled that he panicked and picked up the gun from the floor and returned it to Base Camp Ayanganna, where he “rectified” certain things.
During an unsworn testimony, Woolford had told the court that he was just joking around with the gun when he shot at Howell.
He had told the court that he trusted that his friend would not have given him a gun with live rounds inside.
The trial was heard before Justice Sandil Kissoon at the High Court in Georgetown.
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